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Fear Dark Festival 200

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-Fear Dark Festival, De Kei, Peppelensteeg, Ede, The Netherlands-

The follow-up to last year's successful Fear Dark Festival in De Kei was in fact the second of a twin festival. The day before, Friday March 7th, the four bands were in Chemnitz, Germany, for a sold-out festival in an underground bunker. The four of them were just in time to arrive in The Netherlands for another evening of hard hitting metal.

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Date: Saturday March 8th 2003. Photos by Ben Pardijs & André J.C. Bor. Report written by mpo.

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Brain:FAQ photo by Ben Pardijs

The German band Brain:FAQ was the warm-up band of the night. I had heard many praises about this band, especially about their female bassist who is supposed to be hardly taller than her bass guitar. However, she was temporarily replaced for this festival so I didn't get the chance to see for myself. The music of Brain:FAQ might be described as a mix of Soulfly, Machinehead and Coal Chamber. It's like playing metal on a bumpy road while screaming along. The band tried to get some interaction with the crowd, but it was rather a tame show from what I expected and it wasn't always as tight as it could be. They were probably still tired of the previous night and weary from the journey to Holland. The set list was dominated by the new tunes from the Nutze Die Zeit album. Songs like Be Free and Solange ruled though, and they also played a Soulfly cover.

Lightmare photo by Ben Pardijs

This festival also had meet & greet sessions with all four bands. Just after the Brain:FAQ show it was the Dutch band Slechtvalk to do this first. People could have a chat with them, or buy signed photos and stuff like that. In the meanwhile Lightmare, the next band, was preparing on stage. The sound of their song Terrion (from The Fool album) lured me to the stage again. Great power metal! Lightmare played a set with a lot of songs from the past. No wonder as their last album dates back from 1997. There were also some older tracks like Crusader and the title track from the 1995 album Vampires. Yet the band didn't have the same attraction as the power metal band Seventh Avenue that graced the Fear Dark stage last year. To my idea the band played on the automatic pilot too much, with too little interaction with the crowd. Nice music, though. The crowd, however, demanded an encore, just like they did from every band. One of the highlights was the cover of Messiah from Bloodgood.

Slechtvalk (Shamgar) photo by Ben Pardijs

One of the most anticipated shows on the festival was Slechtvalk's. While they have their third CD out, this was going to be their first official concert in The Netherlands. They were also the only band from The Netherlands and many people in the crowd were already familiar with the members of the band. Now it was the first time to see them live. For this show I had positioned myself to the side of the hall where I didn't have the best sound but was able to see what actually happened on stage (as long as the smoke machine wasn't working overtime like it often did!). There were so many people crowding up in front of the stage that it was almost impossible to get up front without getting bumped into or worse. So, from a comfortable spot I was spectator of the show. Unfortunately I wasn't able to recognize all the songs they played. It was a show mainly featuring songs from the last album The War That Plagues The Land, including Burying The Dead, And Thus It Burns, From Behind The Trees and In Paradisum. What I missed musically, was partially compensated for what I saw. The members had warpaint on (except soprano Fionnghuala) for a grim look. They also addressed the audience in English which was, as I understood it, part of the performance. I would've preferred it Dutch anyway. They also had a female dancer in a bunch of songs while Fionnghuala was adorning the stage with her mystical presence too. Unfortunately keyboard player Sorgier had left Slechtvalk so they didn't have a full band. Bassplayer Nath did some of the keyboard parts. Overall, it was nice to see people I personally know (one more than the other) on stage. But my favorite band on the festival was yet to come.

Immortal Souls (Aki Särkioja) photo by André J.C. Bor

There were so many people at the festival I knew and wanted to talk with, that I never reached the room where the Brain:FAQ and Lightmare meet & greet sessions were held at the same time. The first tones of Frostmind invited me back to the stage to see the Finnish winter metalheads of Immortal Souls. In between songs their singer Aki Särkioja was talking to the crowd in a very cool tone that perfectly fitted the atmosphere of the band. Their music is often a mix of power metal with vocals that are a blend of a death growl and a black metal shriek. Unfortunately the lead vocals fell away sometimes. Yet their set was most professional looking/sounding from all four bands. They played both songs from the album Ice Upon The Night which was released just a few days prior to the festival, as songs from previous recordings. A song from the split-EP with Mordecai was welcomed warmly by the crowd. Also Immortal Souls played their encore and that marked the end of the second edition of the Fear Dark Festival.

Slechtvalk guitarist Ohtar photo by Ben Pardijs

Fortunately, I was offered a ride home from Ralf and Miriam (thanks!). While we were getting out, we were witnesses to Slechtvalk guitarist Ohtar spitting fire just outside. He had great fun doing it. However, the smell of burned hair made him realize that he wasn't only setting fire to the sky! He lost half an inch of his long beard!

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A whole bunch of photos can be found on the photo page of Ben Pardijs.

A whole bunch of photos can be found on the photo page of André J.C. Bor.

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